Weather & Course Condition
Overcast with some light rain and sunny periods, this complex is a golfers dream with many golf courses to play, I played the Pines course and the course was holding up reasonably well considering there had been constant rain for a couple of days before my visit. Greens were in very good condition and the fairways had the occasional wet area’s but my only criticism would be the tee’s which although they are wide the tee markers had been put very close together which resulted in everyone playing off the same spot causing the area’s to be muddy even when I moved the ball further back there was very little relief from the mud.
This golf complex is at the foothills of Dartmoor National Park and consists of 4 great 18 hole courses and the fact you can mix and match the 9 hole loops of two of them gives you 6 different courses that are supported by the 18 hole par 3 Willow course.
Want to play golf but the wife and children don’t? no problem here at Ashbury you can play and stay and whilst your on the course, the family can make use of all the facilities this place offers from swimming, pool, horse riding to many craft activities that are based at the Manor Hotel which is located around a mile away which they will ferry you to if required. Should you stay here the cost is fully inclusive of food and I can tell you it’s not to be missed.
All yardage is from the yellow tee’s
Hole 1 – Par 4 – 406yds
After following the buggy path back down the drive and crossing the lane you come to the first tee, it is a slight uphill drive with a slight dog leg right down to a large green. A nice easy start to your round as long as you don’t lose your drive right into the trees which may leave you blocked out for a shot to the green, in the summer I expect the green is easily reachable in two but when I played in September with soft ground I was more than happy to get on in three.
Hole 2 – Par 3 – 166yds
The green is a tantalising distance below you from the tee, club selection has to be correct although if you are short you may still salvage par but too long can put you in more serious trouble. A simple par three but I suspect many a player has dropped shots here.
Hole 3 – Par 4 – 391yds
Straightforward tee shot on this hole, aim just to the left of the spare green and making sure you don’t drift off to the left will leave a second into a large green but you will not want to overshoot this green as the rough has the habit of making your ball dissappear. This is one of them holes where the low handicappers will find easy but the higher handicappers may drop a shot or two.
Hole 4 – Par 4 – 261yds
Although a short hole there is a lot of trouble abounds, from the tee anything going right could be in trouble and wet, go left and you will find large trees between you and the green and even a reasonable long drive up the middle will leave a blind shot onto the green above you. The green is two tiered so once you have identified the flag position aim your second shot to the left of it as on the left of the green is a steep bank so everything should come back onto the green but too far left will leave a interesting pitch down to the green.
Hole 5 – Par 3 – 170yds
A simple looking par 3 with a leat that runs across it around 100yds from the tee, a large green awaits your tee shot but for us hackers there will be more tee shots missing the green than on it. For me I found using a club more than what I would normally use with a easy swing was better than using say a 9 iron and trying to belt it whereby I would most likely end up just in front of the ladies tee or in the leat.
Hole 6 – Par 5 – 441yds
Although a short par 5 which the big hitters will get on in 2 the rest of us are more than happy to get on or near in 3. From the tee it is slightly uphill with the green hidden from sight behind the bushes on the left, as long as you don’t go to far left or right you will be left with a straightforward second which hopefully will leave you on the green or with a simple pitch into a large green.
Hole 7 – Par 4 – 343yds
From the tee the green can’t be seen as it is uphill and slightly off to the left, on the day of my visit this was one of the teeing areas which had the mud issue, just standing there you could see a pool of water rise out of the ground around your feet. Again as long as you don’t drift to far left or right will leave you in a reasonable position for a second into the green which like all the greens is large and level.
Hole 8 – Par 4 – 378yds
Yet another straightforward drive down the fairway is needed and once again the green cannot be seen from the tee as the fairway curves to the right and down to the green. With plenty of room for any wayward second you can go for the green no matter what.
Hole 9 – Par 4 – 322yds
A short par 4 with the green visible in the distance, a good tee shot that stays on the fairway will leave a opportunity to go for the green which is multi-tiered with bunkers around it. Once on the green if you are not on the same level as the flag a interesting putting challenge will ensue. I liked this hole.
Hole 10 – Par 4 – 360yds
Definitely a straight drive is required as if you go left your OOB and should you go right then be well right and land on the 11th fairway rather than in the trees that split these two holes. For us normal people you will have done very well to get on in two so a good second should leave you near to a peculiar shaped green which has a big dip in it so depending on where the pin position is and your ball you could be left with a more than challenging putt.
Hole 11 – Par 4 – 356yds
Coming back in the reverse direction to the 10th this hole is very similar to it with OOB all the way on the left of the fairway but with a more normal shaped green play to.
Hole 12 – Par 5 – 458yds
For me I found from here on in the course had a different feel about it, upto now it felt open but now there are more trees and bushes around which in turn attract the golf ball. Once again with trouble all the way down the left side, your drive would be in a good position if it ends up in the middle or left of middle of the fairway anything to the right could end up with a large tree between you and the green or even worse in the bushes. With plenty of bunkers around the green and a few fairway ones waiting around 100yds out from it can leave a challenging second shot and then pitch into the green but once on a easy putting challenge is left.
Hole 13 – Par 3 – 164yds
Although it’s pretty open around this green club selection can be difficult, anything overhitting the green is tree bound so if your going to miss then being short is a good thing as the green is very large and a par is still on the cards.
Hole 14 – Par 5 – 495yds
With trees running both sides of the fairway you do not want to end in them unlike me who ended up in the right hand side ones and my second played ping pong with them and ended up behind me. Around 140yds from the green the fairway turns left so you want your second (or in my case third) shot to be there leaving a shot to a smaller then the rest of the greens which has little room behind it and some clever bunker placings around it.
Hole 15 – Par 4 – 280yds
A short par 4 where the big hitters can end up on the green from the tee and for the rest of us it should be reasonable easy hole with a par highly possible as long as you don’t go to far off the fairway.
Hole 16 – Par 3 – 160yds
A simple par 3, or should be but if like me you end up making a mess of the simple ones then one to dread, as you can see from the photo there are trees all around and sure enough that’s where I ended up on the left, fortunately out in one but still scored 5! A hole that is begging for a birdie but also bogies and worse are scored.
Hole 17 – Par 4 – 43yds
Straightforward hole this one even though there are trees waiting for the wayward on both sides the fairway is wide and I enjoyed playing this one. A large green awaits you and I found it ran nice and true.
Hole 18 – Par 5 – 495yds
What a frustrating hole this one was for me, from the tee the first challenge is to see the line to the fairway as there is a lot to carry and the fairway slopes from right to left and you definitely need to be on the right, fortunately the tee was from the front of the teeing area leaving a shorter carry but even then I only just managed to clear the carry and ended up just off the fairway on the right (I’m putting it down to fatigue) same applies for your second shot as you don’t want to let it go to the left and should you hold the fairway you can now concentrate on getting upto the green. In an ideal round you will be playing into the green for 3 but if like me it deteriorates as you play I landed on the green in 5. A good finishing hole, one that I dreaded but still enjoyed the challenge, shame the score wasn’t better.